Florida Loquat Festival to be held 4/8 in NPR

Ecology Florida and Friendship Farms & Fare, with the support of the City of New Port Richey, will host the fourth annual Florida Loquat Festival on Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Frances Avenue Park, 6156 Louisiana Avenue, in New Port Richey.

The festival is a learning and sharing event expanding the knowledge and appreciation of the loquat tree and its fruit.

There will be presentations on the cultivation of loquat trees, how to eat its fruit, how to can it and cook with it, including recipes using loquats. Also featured will be samples for tasting, and a talk on the cultural context of this often overlooked Florida fruit-bearing tree. Trees will be available for sale from licensed Florida nurseries along with fresh fruit, loquat preserves, and other loquat products.

The Florida Loquat Festival is also seeking poetry and prose submissions up to one-page of all things loquat for a reading during the event. All styles are welcome as long as it pertains to the loquat as subject or central image. This reading is not restricted to professional poets. Everyone is encouraged and welcome to participate, and submit work.

Accepted submissions will have a chance to be read at the event at 1 p.m. and will be published in the annual chapbook, Leaves of Loquat, which will be presented in the fall during a public event. Lastly, any time remaining after the reading will be open to the public for a small open mic. If you are interested: Submit 1-page of prose or poetry of all things loquat and a short cover letter/bio sharing your writing experience/publications, if any, to [email protected]. Again, all ages and levels of experience are welcome to participate during the festival.

This is the only festival celebrating the loquat in the United States. The festival will feature trees, preserves, seeds, recipes, brochures, lectures, poetry, and fresh fruit. Festival shirts will also be available. For more information about this event scheduled for April 8 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), call Marilynn deChant at (727) 849-1626.